Earth 101

A basic understanding of the history of the Earth and its life, and the science by which we study it, plays a vital role in shaping an informed public ready to tackle the next set of global challenges.  These Earth science basics - what we call Earth 101 - are at the core of our educational outreach mission and many of PRI's educational programming and exhibits.

Take, for example, our popular Dinosaur Science programs for elementary school children. These presentations introduce the concepts of how we use science to study past organisms, using the group of ancient reptiles so beloved by the public. Our program Ancient Seas over New York State highlights the global change that has occurred over many centuries in our own backyards, and also emphasizes the ways scientists draw conclusions. Our Ice Age Life program uses the Hyde Park mastodon excavation and fossil rich sediments from that site to explore how different life was "only" 13,000 years ago. Our annual James Potorti Interpretive Walks in the State Parks and our public fossil collecting fieldtrips teach these stories by taking people to the very sorts of places by which Earth scientists have come to understand how the Earth has changed in central New York. Our Geology of the Ithaca Area booklet tells that story in simple language in 28 pages, while the Teacher-Friendly Guide to the Geology of the Northeastern U.S. tells the story in about 200 pages and is geared for the secondary school Earth science teacher.  The permanent exhibit of the Museum of the Earth, Journey through Time, tells the story of the history of the Northeast through spectacular fossil specimens, video, original artwork, and interactives.

Through diverse approaches, Earth 101 uses the familiar and fascinating, at scales local to global, to improve public literacy in Earth science.